Pro Organo. A non-profit society founded in St-Hyacinthe, Que, in 1970 to increase awareness in Quebec of the organ and its repertoire through recitals by organists of repute and by serious young performers beginning their careers. The society has been subsidized chiefly by the MACQ. Pro Organo has established centres in various towns. Each centre is autonomous with respect to both its constitution and its activities, but ties of mutual assistance are maintained.
In 1970 at the instigation of the organist Jean Morissette, a central committee was constituted that included Morissette, the organists Jacques Desroches, Réjean Poirier, and Paul Vigeant, and the organ builder Guy Thérien. The centres in St-Hyacinthe, St-Jean, and Joliette all were inaugurated during the first year, followed in 1971 by those of Trois-Rivières and Varennes. In 1990, only the centres of Trois-Rivières (Pro-Organo Mauricie Inc), Joliette (Pro-Organo Lanaudière Inc), and St-Hyacinthe (Société culturelle Pro-Organo St-Hyacinthe Inc) were active, and each offered an average of four recitals a season. The central committee was dissolved in 1973.
Incorporated in 1973, Pro-Organo Mauricie was set up principally by Noëlla Genest and Jean Girouard, who was president 1971-3. Subsequent presidents have been Fernand Beaudet 1973-4, Jean Thiffault 1974-6, Louis-Georges Pérusse 1976-8, Camille Langis 1978-80, and Louis Lebrun 1980-3, followed by Raynald Giroux. Pro-Organo Lanaudière was incorporated in 1975. Its presidents have been Jacques Desroches 1970-2, Éliette Martineau 1972-7, Yvette Roy 1977-83, Marie Hivon 1984-6, and Luc Beauséjour 1987-8, succeeded in 1989 by Rolande Melançon. The concerts of this centre are distinguished by the presence, in addition to the organists, of various soloists and instrumental groups. In 1978 the regional centre of St-Hyacinthe was incorporated. Its presidents have been Paul Vigeant 1970-1, and, beginning in 1971, Jean Morissette.
Among the numerous Quebec organists who have taken part in Pro Organo recitals are Gaston Arel, Denis Bédard, Raymond Daveluy, Jacques Desroches, Sylvain Doyon, Noëlla Genest, Lucienne L'Heureux-Arel, Bernard and Mireille Lagacé, Jean Morissette, Hélène Panneton, Bernard Piché, Réjean Poirier, Michelle Quintal, Denis Regnaud, and Paul Vigeant. Foreign organists who have been invited to perform include Gillian Weir, who played at the Notre-Dame-du-Cap Basilica in January 1979.